Atlético Mineiro Claim Copa Libertadores Title In Dramatic Fashion
It was a situation that Atlético Mineiro had gotten accustomed to during the knockout stages. The team would find itself on the brink of elimination heading into the second leg of a tie going back home or on the verge of being eliminated by a goal.
This game was no different as Mineiro once again pulled out a win in the second leg defeating Olimpia in a penalty shootout to claim it’s first Copa Libertadores title in club history. Mineiro claimed the title as it won the second leg 2-0 in a game which was at times more intense than quality skilled, but one that was dramatic and nervy for fans of both clubs.
Atlético Mineiro knew what it had to do in this game as they lost the first leg game last week 2-0. They faced this same scenario in their semifinal tie against Newell’s Old Boys headed into a second leg back in their home stadium. Like the tie against Mineiro, they came out in full attack mode at the opposition defense looking to score early and apply pressure against the visiting team.
Like the previous tie, the visiting team was able to absorb the early pressure from Mineiro and should have put the tie away with a goal or two in the first half, but in this case Olimpia failed to do so and as a result, Mineiro went into the half 0-0 and still with a chance to come back and pull off the near impossible feat.
With the reprieve it received from Olimpia in the first half, Mineiro re-grouped and immediately got itself back into the tie as Jo would head home a cross to make it 1-0 Mineiro and close the aggregate deficit to 2-1. Mineiro would come close several more times to drawing the aggregate scoreline, but it was denied on several occasions by the crossbar or goal post and several other times by Olimpia goalkeeper Martin Silva who stood on his head to give his team a chance at surviving and winning.
But with four minutes left from time, Mineiro would score and send the game into extra time as Leandro Silva would head home to make it 2-0 and 2-2 on aggregate. With no score in extra time the winner would be decided through penalty shootout and there Mineiro showed and proved to be the team better equipped to deliver, as a missed Matias Gimenez penalty would give Mineiro it’s first Coap Liberatdores title.
Mineiro were the best team in the group stage as it finished as the top seed headed into the knockout stage and in their Round of 16 tie against fellow Brazilian club Sao Paulo, theu easily won 6-2 on aggregate. The team from the quarterfinals on would follow a script of struggling in their first leg tie, but would play out of their minds in the return leg to win and advance.
The final was no different and in the end Mineiro became the fourth straight Brazilian club to win the Copa Libertadores and first to finish as top seed after the group stage to claim the title in the current format. Another great piece of historical achievement was accomplished by Ronaldinho who became the seventh player ever to win a Champions League and Copa Libertadores title and the first to win a Champions League, Copa Libertadores and Balon d’Or (Best Player in the world).
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